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FAO contributes to sustainable intensification of rice production in lowlands in Côte d’Ivoire

Visit to rice farms in Gagnoa, on the sidelines of the 2017 African Green Revolution Forum in Abidjan

Bukar Tijani visiting lowland rice, vegetable and fish farming production at Lalane 1 site in Gagnoa (Photo: (© FAO/Marina Mea Koua)

7 September 2017, Gagnoa, Côte d’Ivoire – The FAO Regional Representative for Africa, Bukar Tijani, visited lowland rice, vegetable and fish farming production at Lalane 1 site in Gagnoa, located 370 km from Abidjan, and renowned for rice production. 

“I interacted directly with beneficiaries and stakeholders in the rice sector with interesting discussions; it is important that they take ownership of this project in order to promote food self-sufficiency in the region,” said Tijani.

“In order to contribute to food security, to seize the many opportunities for employment and financial empowerment of the youth and women, and to improve living conditions and increase incomes, I urge you to sustain it and maintain it over time,” he added. 

The project has contributed to rehabilitate 13 ha of rice production, providing employment to 32 people; one hectare of market gardening with 52 farmers, 15 of whom are women; a fish farm consisting of a dam and four ponds of 2 300 sq.m with 8 000 fingerlings, on which 10 fish farmers are working. 

By initiating this project in collaboration with the Government of Côte d’Ivoire through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and related technical structures, FAO intends to encourage stakeholders to “produce more with less” through an efficient use of the rich resources of the lowlands and their ecosystems.

“We received inputs and equipment through the project; however, we face other difficulties, such insufficient inputs, inadequate storage facilities, inability to acquire efficient agricultural equipment, and the lack of technical training,” said Kante, producer and member of the multistakeholder platform of Gagnoa.

Recommendations issued at the end of the visit focused on the development of the rice sector to help create a more modern and profitable agricultural sector; as well as capacity-building for beneficiaries and stakeholders in the rice value chain, in collaboration with technical partners, including AfricaRice. 

FAO, partner for the Africa Green Revolution Forum

The FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, Bukar Tijani, led a delegation of experts to Côte d’Ivoire to attend the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) ) from 4 to 8 September 2017. The theme of this seventh edition of AGRF 2017 was “Accelerating Africa’s Path to Prosperity: Growing Inclusive Economies and Jobs through Agriculture”, and it focused on the debate on supporting agriculture and employment generation and stimulating economic growth across the continent, especially for the 300 million youth entering the labor market in Africa in the next 15 years.

FAO participated in a side event on the Role of youth in entrepreneurship for job creation, food security and poverty reduction in Africa. In May 2017, the FAO Regional Office for Africa developed and launched an employment programme/action plan on youth, which identified three areas of intervention: knowledge generation, policy dialogue and support to project and programme formulation. 

FAO contributed to a panel discussion on Facilitation, empowerment and investment for women in agriculture, agribusiness and research. The women entrepreneurs in the countries shared their experiences on better access of their agricultural or processed products to markets.

The Business of Small Holder Farmers – Building Resilience and Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change in African Agriculture Smallholder Farmers was also on the agenda. In African context, and in line with the Malabo Declaration framework, FAO reiterated its support for African countries and regional institutions that aim to enhancing the resilience of livelihoods with a focus on crisis prevention and reducing the vulnerability of populations.

A direct commitment to international cooperation 

On the sidelines of the Abidjan Forum, Bukar Tijani held a meeting with Sean Jones of the Food Security Bureau of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in which he conveyed, on behalf of the FAO Director-General, appreciation for USAID’s support for the control and management of the Fall Armyworm in Africa. 

“There are more opportunities for strengthening the partnership with USAID to respond to the growing demand from Member Nations in areas where USAID has comparative advantages, including but not limited to reduction of food losses and waste, post-harvest loss reduction, value chain development (rice and other products) and youth employment, the business environment and the regulation of market tools,” explained Tijani.

FAO-EU cooperation was the subject of a meeting between the FAO Regional Representative and Leonard Mizzi of the European Commission’s Rural Development and Food Security. They agreed that EU support to FAO in Africa, especially in the context of resilience and development programmes, will continue.

“Our farmers especially need access to information on early warning of food crises and pests, as well as recommendations and resources to help them manage these in a sustainable way,” Tijani insisted.

 

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